Mr. Octobers for Yesterday’s ALDS games (October 5, 2013)

The first game of yesterday, in which the Red Sox beat the Rays, is an easy pick: David Ortiz, who had his first multi-HR game of his illustrious postseason career, was the offensive Mr. October. On the mound, it was Koji Uehara, the closer for the Red Sox who squelched any chance of a final rally by the Rays with a surgical 1-2-3 9th inning. Interesting note: The Rangers traded Chris Davis to the Orioles for Uehara. Now they have neither. Whoops.

The second game, a true classic, is harder to pick. I mean, how do you pick between Sonny Gray and Justin Verlander, both who had games that would have sealed them as Mr. October winners otherwise? Well, I’m going to cheat a bit here: I’m not going to give out a position player Mr. October, instead, I’m giving out TWO pitching Mr. Octobers for this game. Now, of course, you could say Stephen Vogt could deserve the hitting Mr. October due to his walk-off single, but, well, he had failed in basically the same situation twice earlier in the game, so, sorry.

Standings (PP= Position Player, P= Pitcher):

PP David Ortiz- 3

P Koji Uehara- 3

P Justin Verlander- 3

P Sonny Gray-3

PP Carlos Beltran– 3

P Adam Wainwright– 3

PP Adrian Gonzalez– 3

P Clayton Kershaw– 3

P Gerrit Cole– 3

PP Pedro Alvarez– 3

P Jon Lester– 3

PP Shane Victorino -3

P Mike Minor– 3

PP Hanley Ramirez– 3

P Max Scherzer– 3

PP Yoenis Cespedes– 3

PP (Position Player) Russell Martin– 1

P (Pitcher) Francisco Liriano– 1

PP Desmond Jennings– 1

P Alex Cobb– 1

Random Tweet: Verlander for Home Run Derby?

In the new feature Random Tweet, a seemingly-random-but-actually-picked-out-purposefully tweet will be featured:

The Home Run Derby voting has begun. While it is non-binding and more serves as a way to suggest who MLB should ask first, it is still kind of neat to see. However, amongst the usual names of traditional sluggers and batting practice greats, one man dares to break the mold, and is running a write-in campaign. That man is Justin Verlander, who is a career 0-33 at the plate. Against tradition, against history, against all common sense, Verlander calls for all fans to vote for him.

Picture of the Day: Early Spring Training

Is it a problem that I could identify Justin Verlander and I think Phil Coke based simply on Verlander’s profile and I-Think-Coke’s facial hair (unless Todd Jones is now a coach for the Tigers or something…)?

This image is under a creative commons license and was taken by Roger “HueyTaxi” Dewitt.

Late World Baseball Classic news for January 13, 2013 (Part 3 of probably 3)

Okay, last update for the night… I hope.

    • In his article on the latest round of players to commit to Team USA, Jon Heyman mentions that Troy Tulowitzki will be held back from Team USA do to injury concerns. I had read elsewhere that Tulowitzki wanted to play in the WBC almost specifically to show how healthy he was, but maybe the Rockies are stopping him.
    • Adam Wainwright won’t be pitching in the WBC… but then again, he wasn’t even invited.
    • Barry M. Boom’s list of players who have committed to Team USA includes Jimmy Rollins, the first confirmation in recent days that he’ll be on the roster.
    • And, perhaps the biggest news:

Okay, so there you go: Justin Verlander will take part if he feels up to it. And there is still room for one more catcher on the roster (Posey? Wieters? Ellis?).

More WBC news as we get closer to roster day on Thursday.

Prediction vs. Reality: Game 1 of the 2012 WS

Throughout the 2012 World Series, I’ll be taking a look at what I thought I’d be writing alongside what actually happened.
What I thought I’d be writing: Justin Verlander is the new face of baseball. He’s won the Rookie of the Year, he’s won one Cy Young Award and will probably win another, he’s won an MVP, he’s thrown two no-hitters, he reportedly is dating SI covergirl Kate Upton, and now he can add to his list of accomplishments the title of “Mr. October,” as he wrecked the San Francisco Giants with a complete-game shutout where he struck out 12 as the Tigers won 7-0 in Game 1.

Barry Zito did better than most probably expected, but he couldn’t duplicate his NLCS Game 5 performance, giving up 4 earned runs….

What actually happened: The Giants won 8-3 in Game 1 and Pablo Sandoval is Mr. October. He may not have the same pedigree as the previous hitters to go deep thrice in one World Series game (Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols are Hall-of-Famers or will be one day, while “Kung Fu Panda” won’t), but he probably did it against the best pitching. While Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols did it against three different pitchers and Babe Ruth did it before the flame-throwing pitcher had become commonplace, Sandoval did it with two home runs against the greatest pitcher on the planet, a previously-thought untouchable Justin Verlander. His third home run, against Al Albuquerque, must have seemed downright mundane compared to his earlier exploits.

Meanwhile, on the mound, Barry Zito has continued his resurrection, going 5.2 innings, giving up six hits and only one earned run, while himself driving in a run against Justin Verlander. If you thought that this would happen- and that he would be replaced in the game by Tim Lincecum (the first time since 1983 that a Cy Young winner relieved another Cy Young winner in the World Series)- then you are a liar.

Of course, this now puts the entire series into question. While many thought that the Tigers might be rusty, few thought that rust would hit Verlander, especially as hard as it did. What was supposed to be the 29-year-old’s coronation has now turned into a possible wake for the 2012 Detroit Tigers, who now must come back from this 1-0 deficit while dealing with the now-questionable starting pitching and a relief corps that has it’s former anchor (Valverde) in shambles. Thankfully for the Tigers, Game 2 will be against Madison Bumgarner, who was bad down the stretch and struggled in his previous postseason start this year. If the Tigers can get a jump on him and Doug Fister can play with minimal rust, they still have a good shot at making this a tied series heading back to Detroit.

The Continuum’s 2012 World Series Preview

It’s the 108th World Series! If this were the Super Bowl, we’d give it a cool Roman numeral name, like World Series CVIII, but that’s not how it works, so it’s just called the “2012 World Series”.

On paper, it could be either a treat or a blow-out. The Tigers could maul the Giants like they mauled the Yankees, taking advantage of their superior pitching and their more powerful hitters.

But, on the other hand, the Giants will be fresher and have more momentum, having only just recently finished their series against the Cardinals. This might not seem like much, but consider that in history, there have been three times where a team that swept their LCS faced a team that went the distance in an LCS in the World Series. All three times, the team that had to go the distance won. In addition, San Francisco has the more settled bullpen, and they will have home-field advantage, primarily because various Giants (most notably the now-exiled Melky Cabrera) beat up on Detroit über-ace Justin Verlander in the All-Star Game.

So how will it turn out? Check out my analysis after the jump:

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Justin Verlander will get his third no-hitter… and probably a fourth. And maybe a fifth and sixth.

I wasn’t at a TV last night as Justin Verlander, the best pitcher in baseball, was throwing a no-hitter. I was at a ballgame. I heard about it after he’d finished seven, but by the time I got to the ballpark’s bar and got them to switch it to MLB Network, he was just finishing off the eighth. It was then that a Red Sox fan, wondering why that game wasn’t on anymore, asked why:

“Verlander is throwing a no-no,” I said.

“Again? Wow,” the man replied (I’m paraphrasing here).

So then it was just waiting. MLB Network kept showing the Red Sox game, but promising they would head back to Detroit once Verlander took the mound again. It felt like an eternity, waiting for them to get back to Detroit. It felt like it was going to be inevitable that he was going to throw it, so it was something of both a shock and a disappointment when Josh Harrison got a soft hit to center with one out. No-hitters always seem to end with the littlest hits, as that is all it takes.

For most pitchers, to lose a no-hitter in the ninth would be a great missed opportunity, one they likely would never have the chance to have again. With Verlander, however, that isn’t the case, as we are now to the point where every time he steps to the mound, there is a real chance he could throw a no-hitter. It doesn’t matter where he is or who he is facing. Barring injury, I have no doubt that he will throw another no-hitter. Heck, he could have several more. He is the first threat to Nolan Ryan‘s record since… ever.

Only Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Cy Young, Bob Feller and Larry Corcoran (a ace of the 19th century who died at the age of 32 from Bright’s Disease) have three or more no-hitters. It is probably only a matter of time before Verlander joins them, and, perhaps, one day surpasses them.